Not ice this time, snow

Now its snowing. Though I was hoping the weather people were wrong last night. Nope they weren't.
I must say its pretty when its falling. I was hoping my camera would pic up how big the flakes are. and how much is falling but it didn't really pick that up real well. I know there are people in some parts getting tons and have been just dumped on all winter. So nope not complaining. Will just enjoy watching it fall.



brrr

Not a week ago it was 70-80 degrees. Now this, not snow, pure ice. All of it.
Keeper is happy about it all. You want to make a Great Pyrenees happy, realllllly happy. Well this will do it!
He loves the ice and cold! He has played in it, ran in it till he is wore out, rolled in it, laid in it.... He is having a blast! He has worked Giraffe Cow over big time LOL. Even though Giraffe Cow is frozen hard LOL... Giraffe Cow is a stuffed toy that is half cow half giraffe LOL.. thus the name. Its one of his outside toys.

                                      
                                     
                                      
                                       

Onions taking another hit. Won't even go into why they are not covered. Just hoping for the best at this point.

                                                                  Yep pure ice.
                                                Still working Giraffe Cow over good LOL


So cute....

We have a bit of everything here...
Lots of  deer, wild hogs, raccoon, armadillos, squirrels. many kinds of birds, snakes arggh, well we just have a huge assortment of wild life here.

So yep we feed the wild life and we enjoy watching them all the time :O).

I know the wild hogs are dangerous or I know I have been told this. So I always watch them from the safe side of the fence :O)... They don't come into our house or garden areas in the front.. they are in what we call the back on the OTHER side of the fence.

                      We have been watching as of late a momma with her new litter of piglets..

                                   Momma and her babies having a late night snack ... click on the photo and you can see them even better :O)

Seedlings everywhere

The seedlings are coming up and doing pretty good... My pepper germination rate has been off a bit this year. I have replanted several....Not sure why, I have done everything the same as I always do. But then peppers are notorious for not having the best germination rate. No biggy, as I said I replanted :O)

I have added some lights for my seedlings once they have gotten up, I don't normally do this. We are having a pretty cold time of it at night still for us. Its a bit iffy .... Okay cold as in cold northern or eastern U.S. cold..No not that cold. But cold for us. I don't feel comfortable putting these guys out in the greenhouse yet even though I have a heater out there that kicks on if the greenhouse temp falls below 45... so for now I just clipped some lights and pulled some lamps into the exercise room on top of the other lights in there ... trying to keep seedling central  bright and warm :O) ... I have a space heater in there and of course the electric heating blanket :o),,,,,

Yes these guys are up and happy .. they are now sitting on the weight bench instead of the treadmill :O)... lights are clamped to the weight bench ... ya the exercise room has pretty much become garden central LOL
 Arent they cute :O).. I come in this room a gazillion times a day to see these guys! I love growing my seedlings..

 Yep a lamp and two clip lights 
 Treadmill  holding seed trays that are still working on coming up 
 These guys are trying hard but have been slow......
 Everyone say hello!!! LOL  They are all waving ... no really trust me they are.. :O) 

Perfect weather, gardening and happy clients :O)

Well it was beyond beautiful today!

I planted more radish in the garden. I planted more tomatoes, peppers in seed trays.

I cooked and cooked and cooked, made a 20 day supply of food for Keeper, its now in daily servings in the freezer.. this is a huge job. But Keeper has not had one single ear infection since I started making his food for him! woowhooo  If this is what it takes ti keep him ear infection free then okie dokie his Momma will cook  food for the Great Pyrenees. He is so worth it! Honeyman helped me clean up allllll the pots and pans it took to make this much food! LOL

So remember when I said I had a surprise, welllll the surprise is I am getting a new garden spot! I am so excited! This will give me a third garden. I wanted more space to add more vegetables. We were discussing more raised bed etc. Then it was like a light bulb went off! You know the times when you think "and we didn't think of this first why" ..... We did some research and found out how deep moles tunnel... Now the plan is .... we are going to till a garden spot a nice size plot..... then around the perimeter of this tilled area we will trench 2 feet deep. We will then put the hardware cloth wire 1/2" grid wire down into the trench standing up.  (We usually put this under a raised bed to create a place to garden.) We will bury the hardware cloth. I will also be planting daffodils around this area as time goes but not 2 feet deep obviously. That is to deep for daffodils. They are added insurance to send the moles another direction. The point is the moles won't get in the garden because they don't bury deep enough in tunnels to go past the perimeter wire! Hello!!! Why didn't we think of this sooner! This will be easier an way less expensive than raised beds! Almost everything I read said 2"-12" is the depth a mole will dig tunnels.. but I found one or two places that said up to 24".. so ok we will go the full 24" deep on the trench to put the wire wall in the ground... We should be totally covered doing this! I am so excited.  I have so many new seeds this year and I need more gardening space. I was dreading building all those raised beds with wire, as they are a lot of work :O). Again " we didn't think of sooner why"? LOL

I bought some new seeds from a Italian Seed Company that sells here in the U.S.  www.growitalian.com The seed pkgs are huge compared to ours not only in size but in seed quantity. They are also very pretty! They send you a lot of seeds in a package! 

So these are the seed package from the seed company.
I got two tomatoes to try, one sweet pepper, one Zucchini, a purple leaf swiss chard, the rainbow of radish seeds and a cucumber. 

                             My seeds I planted a week ago are coming up! these are some tomatoes 
                                                                  More tomatoes up
                                                                 Swiss Chards up

The Peppers and Eggplants so far not up...


 You guys remember the client I did the drapery remakes for. Well he ordered some throw pillows. I did two knife edge 18" pillows  and one lumbar. The lumbar I had to get creative to do as the piece left from shortening the drapes was not quite big enough to get a standard lumbar pillow. So I added a band to the top and bottom of it. I turned the plaid the opposite way on that band, you can actually barely see it on the top and bottom o the lumbar pillow looking at it in these photos.  I used the same plaid for the back. The two 18" knife edge square pillows front and back were the plaid fabric. As you can see I matched the pattern on the two 18"pillows so they were identical when you look at them. I also matched the pattern on the side seams so they flow from front of the pillow to the back of the pillow. They are reversible. He picked them up and was very pleased with them. In the photo I have them on my sofa to get a picture. The plaid fabric just happens to be a fabric I have used in my own home. It was a perfect color match to his print fabric. As luck would have it,  I had yardage of this plaid on the bolt. Since my work room has more fabric in it then some fabric stores LOL so I have been told. LOL then that worked out well!






Drapery remakes for a client

A client wanted his previously custom made drapes remade. He liked the fabrics still and wanted to use them at his new town home. But he wanted them a bit more "now" as he put it. They were pinch pleated drapes. One pair was inner lined and lined. One pair was just lined. Both of them were 2 full widths per panel.

For his new town home,  he needed single width panels and twice as many as he had....as luck would have it the two width panels he had split into single widths would give him exactly what he needed.

Sooooo I split the the panels and did away with the pinch pleats to make them flat panels that hung by wooden rings on wooden rods.  They were also to long for his new town home. Luckily this worked as a advantage in the remake.

The fabrics were nice quality fabrics and he still very much liked them. He showed me three bedding sets he had purchased and wanted to know which I would go with. Well  hands down the terracotta was the right one I felt, it just made the terracotta in the drapes sing. I am always happy to give a client my opinion,  but I always ask. Do you love that? I ask him prior to my choice if he loved one of the three more than the others. They all would have "worked" but I wanted to know if he loved one more than the others. When you lovvvvveeeee something a lot then you need to consider that, even if sometimes it may not be the designers choice. :O)......don't get me wrong I would have said to him if one was awful ROFL :O)...To me the terracotta was perfect and beyond the other two. He said no he had picked up all three thinking they worked but he didn't know which to go with, but he too was leaning toward the terracotta. :O)

He did the installation of rods. He installed new rods and sent me these photos the drapes after picking them up and hanging them. They were exactly what he wanted he said, so he was happy. :O)

Remaking existing drapes can become more work than making them from scratch, but in this case it was a good deal for everyone involved.


 I do not know if his walls were white in his previous residence. But he was happy and this is what he wanted to use. :O) So I was happy he was happy :O)


Let the seedling planting begin!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE planting my seedlings for my garden! There is just something about it that... well it makes me giddy actually. I told honeyman I was so excited I could hardly focus on the task at hand LOL... Crazy I guess but well I love it.

Ok so first up I set the exercise room up as a seedling nursery. That is the room I use to germinate them. Then as they get big enough I move them to the greenhouse outside. I can control the environment easier in this room to get them to germinate than I can in the greenhouse.

Yes that would be my treadmill LOL playing host to my seedling trays. I have my heating blanket under them. :O). I also have a space heater in the room so as to keep it nice and toasty. Peppers are notoriously hard to germinate. I have found warmth is my best friend to help get them up. I have the ceiling fan on low to keep the air moving in there and once t hey start poking their little heads up I will leave the lights in the room on non stop till I move them to the greenhouse. The room has this nice big window and one more on the other wall.  Its nice enough to run outside so I can give up the treadmill to my seedlings or I could move them off to the floor too if I realllly wanted to LOL.
 These trays hold my peppers. Yes those are all peppers. Tomorrow I will be planting my tomatoes and my eggplants. Which is a lot to plant in one day but going by the farmers almanac and my grandma always did and she could grow one heck of a vegetable garden! Not good days again then for several and with work I need to get them done! So I will :O)  I planted approximately 124 I think it was, but you know some won't germinate, some will die for this or that reason and I will inevitably break a few or drop them when planting, I know but I do it every year.
 Dining room table where I made a list and checked it twice :O)
 The longer list to the left is for my tomatoes, what I will be planting.. the list to the right was my peppers. I have not made a eggplant list yet. I kinda stumped my toe on eggplant seeds this year so I have several new varieties to try LOL. As a matter a fact I bought quite a few new varieties of seeds for thise year and will e planting more of everything dues to.....  that is another post a little surprise which I am soooooo excited about!
Thought you might like to see how the kumquat ice cream and candy turned out.
 The Kumquat Ice Cream well let me just say I can't think of a word to properly describe how good it is!
Its sorta like sherbet but much richer with the coconut cream base. Its softer than super hard ice cream but in a perfect sort of way. The flavor is to die for!!!


 The kumquat candy turned out so good! This is all that is left of it LOL. I can't stay out of it! Honeyman likes it as well!

Busy week ahead, I will be working on a pair of drapes this week, if the shop gets in any shades I will be picking up everything for those. I am so every pleased I can now work  at home!!! Just have to pick up the fabric and work orders. This is going to help me out so much time wise!

A list of the peppers I planted and where I got the seeds

Red Cherry Sweet from Tomato Growers
Amy Sweet Hungarian from Amishland Heirloom Seeds
Feher Orzon Pepper from Amishland Heirloom Seeds
Emerald Giant from Sustainable Seeds
Yellow Monster from Baker Creek Seeds
Orange Bell from Baker Creek Seeds
Red Cheese from Baker Creek Seeds. ( a VERY hard pepper to germinate but its soo good)
Red Lamuya from Mariannas Seeds ( friend and I both got seeds from tihs company this year, she said the tomatoes germinated great from this place but none of her peppers seeds did) So I will report back on mine as to if this was my same experience.)
Big Guy Jalapeno Hybrid ( yes a hybrid this is a really nice very large jalapeno from Burpee, if you like HOT you will love these. Ever once in a while I do plant a hybrid seed. These are HUGE too boot)
Jalapeno Gigante Hybrid (yep another one, these I bought in different years and am using up the seeds from both pkgs this  year. Both were about the same to tell you the truth in size and hotness. Both we liked very much. Darn shame can't save seeds off them due to them being hybrid)
For those that aren't sure Hybrid doesn't mean GMO,  I NEVER would buy a GMO seed! That is scary stuff and I hate that we allow that in the US!
Giant Arconcagua from Mariannas Seeds
Rotunda Russian Red from Amishland Heirloom Seeds
Doorknob sweet pepper from Amishland Heirloom Seeds

I have one more pepper in route .. late seed order..
Corno di Toro Rosso from Seeds from Italy, I ordered several different seeds from this company new to me company. They had some varieties I had not seen before so that was fun! Some swiss chard, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, yep I did :O)

Canning Kumquats

Its that time of year again, actually I am canning these later than normal this year. I left them on the tree longer this year. I figured they would keep better on the tree then off while I tried to get to canning them. They did.

So today I canned them. I have eaten a bazillion right off the tree and I still had 5.40 lbs when I picked them today. Ya'll know the tree is in  my garage with my other citrus trees.

I am also trying out drying some of the ones I canned last year! I saw a recipe for doing dried kumquat candy and it was basically exactly what you do when you can them only instead of canning them you then dry them... so I figured well let me use a jar from last year cuz they have had all that time to soak in that yummy goodness in the jar. Will have to report back on how that worked out but I have no reason to think it wont.


 I started out to deseed the kumquats this y ear, but then decided nah... I haven't in the years past and they were just fine. That is a slow process LOL


                                          Jar of last years in photo below, they hold up well.  
This years in photo below... Always can that extra syrup because its sooooooooooo good.
I use it to sweeten tea or like today added in my ice cream mix. It would be great in some fizzy water on a hot day over ice. I always forget what that water is called LOL. I saw on one gals blog she put some type of cognac or brandy I forget now in her syrup. Don't ya know that was good. I got 6 Pints of Kumquats and 3 Pints of syrup. The last jar of syrup was still in the canning getting process when I took the photo. My hot water bath canner holds 8 pints.


          The supervisor was on duty.
   

this is what I do to can these. Its a mix of two recipes I liked. I am just passing on what I do but you guys do what you feel is good  :O)
This is the ratio of ingredients, if you have more kumquats thats fine just use this ratio for every four cups of kumquats. 
4 cups kumquats 
2/3 cup water
2 cups sugar

Your going to think you don't have enough syrup when you first put your kunquats in the pan with it, but you do and then some. The Kumquats will create more juice as they cook. 
Whatever size batch I do I add the juice of one lemon and a bit of  pure vitamin C powder. Today I had 16 cups of Kumquats when I started out. I added 1/8 tsp of vitamin C powder.  It just helps with color retention and its non chemical so I do it.  I add the lemon to brighten the flavor. I like it in there. 

Put a X in the top of each washed kumquat


Bring the water, sugar, lemon juice to a boil.  Boil for about  4-5 minutes watching it and stirring so it wont boil over. Once its a nice syrup, lower your heat and add your kumquats with the X in the tops. Bring it back up to a boil and simmer for 15  minutes or till the skins are getting a bit translucent.

Then scoop out the fruits and put in sterilized jars. Then cover to 1/2 of jar top with the syrup. I have found not over packing or filling the jars is good. You want to be able to cover all your fruit with the liquid so leave room for that. 

Process for 20 minutes in a boiling bath. 

No I have seen several other recipes and I have used a couple but I like mine like this so this is what I do . The times you will see vary on every recipe it seems with the kumquats. I do the longer process time I have seen. But I don't soak them over night any longer as I don't think it changes them. Some recipes have you do the process up to boiling them in the syrup and then let them sit over night then bring back to boil and can them.
For me I decided to go with the recipe I found that didn't do that....they can marinate in the jars on the shelf and that works great. I can't say I can tell a difference in them. 

                                                          Coconut Kumquat Ice Cream
 I also took a can of coconut cream and a jar of last years kumquats opened it up and dumped the kumquats and syrup all into the food processor with the can of coconut cream... zapped it till the kumquats were in little pieces through out the coconut cream... I have that in the fridge cooling now. It will go into my ice cream maker here in just a little bit! I can tell you that can of coconut cream with that jar of kumquats and syrup... oh my gosh was that tasty!!  What a yummy ice cream that will be. I have one of those electric ones you put the tub in the freezer. Take it out when you want to make ice cream etc. I really like it as you can make ice cream out of just about anything using  full fat coconut milk or coconut cream. Its the perfect ice cream base and so good for you.

Dreaming...

If I could snap my fingers..
We would be in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas (where I am from) you have read in my side bar maybe... the love of the Ozark Mountains and her beauty that I have.
We would be living in a one bedroom cabin with a basement on a few acres in the mountains.
We would be gardening, maybe sell our extra produce and some hand craft items at the farmers market in Fayetteville AR.and or the Eureka Springs AR farmers market.
Honeyman and I would be enjoying the numerous miles of cycling trails that are there. I would be enjoying running on them as well. We would go hiking at the numerous places there to hike.
Life would be slower, simpler, healthier, easier, calmer, quieter... simpler, oh did I say that already. :O)
It would be less, but in a oh so good less way, less stress, less dollars to live, less house to take care of, less bills to live, less sighhhhhhhhh yes less :O).

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate my life as is, I am grateful and blessed I feel.  But I could do simpler, quieter, slower, less :O)....................

Its in the plans, down the road, I can see it, its there beckoning me ..... :O) 

Off to bed with me to dream of slower times :O) ..... good night :O)...

This is actually a photo of Greers Ferry Lake, the area of the Ozarks I am from. Fayetteville and Eureka Springs AR are a bit west of here.  All are considered to be the Ozarks of Arkansas

Cornice Boards and drapery work room...

 I am tickled with the cornice boards I made for my sewing room. Honeyman built them for me and I upholstered them a couple weeks ago...  finally yesterday got the trims on them. I used three different trims :O).  I wanted something colorful and fun for my sewing room. I think they fit the bill!

            Beaded trim, furry trim and braid trim on top... Just so fun!

 Finished my drapery table, almost. Still have to put the yellow tape measures in the metal tracks down the sides... its a two man job... honeyman will help me this weekend. Need four hands to get them on.
                                                           
   Loving my commercial machine.
      
                                 Used cubby area to put small sewing desk with my serger machine or if I want to move my light weight machine over there to simply piece a quilt and look out the window I can!
 This end of room looks a bit of a mess, but its not LOL...  Machines, jobs being worked on. A duvet cover, some zipper bags etc. Quilting machine, embroidery machine and a light weight regular machine. This weekend will be getting some wood trim for the edge of that table so it looks finished!
                                         
It feels good to be back in the business. Yes I have been back in for the last almost two years working with the design studio, but it feels good to be back on my own again too!

I was asked if there was a conflict of interest, me working for myself with my own clients and for a design studio that does this as well, the answer is no and here is why...

I am self employed at the design studio I work at. Where I do a job for them, I am not a full time regular employee. I work when jobs come in that have shades in them.  Roman shades, balloon shades, London shades etc. They needed someone to do that area.  Other people do other areas of work at studio. Then there are some full time regular employees of the studio as well.
I also do some computer work for them on a self employed basis.
I did not have my own work room set up at the time I went back to work. So I did the work I do for them using their work room. For them mostly I do all the shades, if it pulls up and down with cords I make it.

I do not and would not solicit their clients.
They know I am working with my own clients as well. 
In this trade, its not unusual at all for a drapery work room to work with their own clients and to then work for several different designers as their "work room".
Actually a lot Interior Designers do not know how to sew at all. 
They may very well be fantastic at putting it all together but they cannot sew a lick and have no desire to know that end of the business, so they use drapery work rooms to do that end for them. 
A honest drapery work room does not solicit the clients of the designers they sew for.
So no, no conflict of interest. :O)